Pat: Are you ready to pick the fuck back up with Firestarter?
Andrea: Ugh not really.
Pat: YOU ARE A SHITPAIN IN MY POOPHOLE.
Andrea: Was this your least favorite so far?
Pat: Probably, although I liked it from “The Blackout” on.
Andrea: I HATED IT.
Pat: There are so many stairs I want you to fall down.
BEFORE YOU FALL DOWN THOSE STAIRS, THOUGH, ALLOW ME TO GIVE YOU A SLIGHT REWRITE OF THE NOVEL:
Page 1 Andy looked at his child, burnt teddy in his hands, and he lost his temper. “That is bad, Charlie! You did a BAD THING.” Then he stopped, panting. When he spoke, he voice had dropped an octave, becoming gentle and steady: “Charlie, you will never do that again. You were never able to set fires or move things with your mind,” he said, and pushed with all his might.
Andrea: Seriously. I mean, he could push her, right? That was proven at the end?
Pat: Yeah, and anyway, why the hell hadn’t that occurred to him in EIGHT FUCKING YEARS.
Andrea: I hated that this whole book was about a poor little girl with a sad miserable life and no mommy who was sad and scared all the time.
APPARENTLY I CAN’T READ ANYTHING WITH SAD KIDS ANYMORE THANKS HORMONES
Pat: Did You Know? The original title for this novel was Carrie 2: Pyrokinetic Bugaloo.
Andrea: I know, right? Even the puberty/period themes were there.
SK really fell asleep at the wheel on this one.
Pat: Yeah, “asleep.” DRUUUUUUUNK.
Andrea: Stephen “Boozehound” King.
Pat: “Boozehound”? Are you from the twenties?
Andrea: Ugh, I really have nothing to say about this stupid book. There was not a single interesting character
Pat: Then let us SUMMARIZE.
The book opens with a man trying to escape someone with his child. There’s two of them! They are in a green car! They give chase, he’s tired.
Andrea: I laughed really hard about Andy blaming the black guy in like, the first three pages.
Pat: Later, he says something about Pynchot dying like, how it must feel to be the black guy “tomming” the white guy. Whatever that means.
Andrea: Damn SK, why you so racists?
Pat: Uh, Rainbird? I don’t even know if that was racist. It had nothing to do with fucking anything Indian.
Andrea: Ugh, I hated him.
So Andy convinces the cabbie to drive him to Albany! That’s a long way away. The dollar bill he gives the man looks like a 500 dollar bill! Don’t tell him, he’ll tell you.
Andrea: Oh yeah! Does SK just make people have weirdo little catchphrases to avoid giving them personalities?
Pat: His hitchhiker drivers always have hokey catchphrases. Don’t tell me, I’ll tell you. How do you like that happy crappy?
Andrea: I KNOW.
Pat: They get to the Albany airport, Andy tells his kid to go use THE BAD THING to get change out of the payphones.
Did they not have ATMs back then?
Pat: ATMs were around in the 70s, just not widespread.
Andrea: omg I ALWAYS know when you are looking at Wikipedia.
Pat: That is the shittiest psi power Lot Six ever produced. “What can you do?” “I can tell when people are reading Wikipedia.”
Andrea: Not all people, just you.
Pat: BUT, come on, Andy could have walked up to a teller with a blank deposit slip, pushed, and gotten a billion dollars.
Andrea: I think that was why they made it hurt his brain to explain why he wasn’t just doing it all the time.
Pat: No, he could have done it easily. Sure, it hurt, but a medium push would have worked. Or walk up to people and tell them to give him their money. And bankbooks.
JUST LEAVE THE COUNTRY. Push him and Charlie a couple passports with fake names, disappear to England. Fuck it.
Andrea: This book was just dumb, and full of plot holes.
Pat: So anyway, she sets a dude in the adjoining phone booth’s feet on fire because he’s a douche! Then they walk down a highway and both trip all the way down a hill. They find another person to give them a ride!
Andrea: I love the trucker guy who picks them up. Al. Because he calls Charlie “Little stranger.” Why was I not born in the 70s?
Al is in danger of a colostomy bag for his hemorrhoids–for real? I didn’t know hemorrhoids could get that bad.
Pat: This was back in the civil war, it’s so dated.
Pat: Meanwhile, we learn about the Lot Six experiment.
Andrea: If you were a poor college student, would you have done the experiment?
Pat: No, I probably wouldn’t have. Unless I saw a hot redhead.
Andrea: Me either. I found that kind of far-fetched. The other subjects were students too, right? So wouldn’t it be obvious if they disappeared?
Pat: They specifically screened for people with no relatives.
Andrea: Yeah, but wouldn’t the other students have noticed?
Pat: None of them knew each other.
Why am I defending this shitbird of a book?
Andrea: I have no idea.
Pat: So Andy meets a beautiful redhead who is on the outs with her boyfriend. They become INSTANTLY CLOSE because Lot Six is a hallucinogen and also imbues people with “psi talents,” because ??????
Andrea: BUT THE BEAUTIFUL REDHEAD DOESN’T LIKE SEX
Pat: Eventually, they do have sex, we learn later on! He likes her!
SPOILER ALERT: They get married and have Charlie!
Andrea: What was the point of that part of the story, pray tell?
Pat: To show how close the ability to use telepathy made them?
Andrea: YEAH but why? Was that just like, a poor attempt at characterization?
Pat: Also, to shorten the story, which King must have realized was boring everyone to death.
Andrea: I picture him snorting a line and then passing out at his typewriter.
Pat: SPOILER ALERT! Some kids die and go crazy during the tests. One gouges out his eyes. Later, Andy goes back to the room, discovers the bloody mark on the chart!
Andrea: Having never tripped, I cannot comment on the verisimilitude of that section, although I will say that the guy clawing his eyes out was the only thing that stayed with me from the other time I read this book.
Pat: You read this shitbird before?
Andrea: Yeah, in college. I forgot how much it sucked.
Pat: Andy then brings Vicky, our frigid redhead, but the chart has been changed! CONSPIRACY ABOUNDS, THEY ARE BOTH SCARED. We are to assume that this is probably the first time they have sex, shortly after that. Fearing for their lives!
Andrea: Oh yeah, that bothered me. Why did they just leave the bloody handprint if it was some big government conspiracy?
What a bunch of dumbasses.
Pat: They forgot for just long enough that Andy could find it, and then bring Vicky back and not find it, thereby indicating to us there is BAD SHIT GOING ON.
Andrea: I am not usually someone for whom details are bothersome, but this book bothered me.
Pat: In the now, they get to Hastings Glen or some shit, barely elude capture at a motel, get picked up by Irv Manders.
Andrea: OH IRV! I LOVE HIM. He called the government agents “whoremasters.” They should have subtitled this book, “SK Hates the Government, Or: Don’t Trust the Man, Little Stranger.”
Pat: Meanwhile, we learn about potty-training Charlie, but not with poop, with fire.
Andrea: Let me add as an aside that Avery has no shame about her poop.
“Mom, I took a dump.”
Pat: Charlie sets her own hair on fire, as well as her mom’s hands. Eventually, her teddy bear.
Stephen King does that trick where he capitalizes things in the heads of children.
Andrea: Or dogs.
Pat: What Charlie did was a BAD THING, she must not do the BAD THING.
Andy takes her burned-up teddy bear, rubs her nose in it, creating a complex! It is like not being able to pee your pants, according to a study that may or may not have been made up!
Andrea: Yeah, I didn’t like that part at all.
Pat: At no point does Andy use his powers of MENTAL DOMINATION to simply wipe the ability out in his child’s mind. He is a doofus.
Andrea: Man, Andy was such a schmo. Did he have any redeeming qualities?
Pat: He was a protective and loving father?
Andrea: Except that he could have just pushed her to not set fires, but he forgot to.
Pat: ALTHOUGH, maybe he was worried about setting up an echo in his daughter’s mind?
Anyway! Back in Hastings Glen, Irv Manders is full of COUNTRY CHARM. So is his WIFE! His considerable rural common sense leads him to believe that Andy is FULL OF SHIT.
Andrea: I loved them both although they were clearly stock archetypes. I have a weak and melty heart.
Pat: Then agents come! Holy crap!
LONG STORY SHORT: Charlie unleashes the fury, burns the fuck out of a lot of stuff, agents run off scared or dead. NOT FOR THE FIRST TIME, Stephen King says the heat turns things to tallow.
Andrea: When else did he say that?
Pat: See also: Charlie and Vicky’s DIRECT BLUE EYES
They are direct blue, he wants us to know. EVERY TEN MINUTES IN THE FIRST HUNDRED PAGES. Not to mention, Charlie is blonde. Her father is black-haired, her mother is (was) red-haired. Her genes said, “WTF, PUNNETT SQUARES?”
Andrea: That seemed highly unlikely. BRB
Pat: So where was I in the recap that you were no help with?
Norma Manders calls Charlie something, I can’t remember what? MONSTER. Right!
Andrea: Yes. She apologizes later, but it still made me feel bad. That is the main emotion this book evoked: Charlie-related sadness.
Pat: People done get their heads on fire and so on, Irv Manders gets shot right in his Country-Fresh Arm.
Barn burns down! Norma calms down! Irv gives them a Jeep? They take THIS EXACT ROUTE UP TO VERMONT. STEPHEN KING FEELS HE NEEDS TO GIVE US DETAILED DIRECTIONS.
He basically prints out directions from Mapquest and puts them into the manuscript. Twenty years before Mapquest existed.
THEN they spend an interminable amount of time in the woods.
Andrea: I kept thinking OMG NO INTERNET NO NETFLIX NO BOOKS.
Pat: We learn about Granther, Andy’s father and Charlie’s grandfather, but we don’t really care. It has no bearing on the story?
Andrea: Yeah, that was dumb. It was a failed attempt to flesh out Andy’s pathetic character.
Pat: How fucking stupid did Andy have to be to go to a property he OWNED?
Andrea: Yeah, there were so many wildly illogical things.
Pat: We also learn about the first time Charlie was snatched! And how Vicky died! It involves fingernail torture!
Andrea: Oh yeah, I hated that. KIDS IN PERIL, UGH
Pat: Stephen King’s Sure-Fire Shortcut To A Sympathetic Character: His wife’s dead! They loved each other, but now she’s dead. He is sad!
Andrea: I didn’t like thinking about the fingernail thing with my own recent toenail problem
Pat: Yeah, no dice on fingernail pulling. Andy somehow catches them! In the van, on the roadside! He puts one to sleep forever, drives the other one insane by MENTALLY DOMINATING HIM into blindness. This is all happening in the past, by the way! Because the present is so boring in the woods!
They run! THEY RUN A LOT. That’s the part we already read, up to the stupid cabin. Now we’re back at the cabin! IT’S THE PRESENT. That brings us up to Rainbird, under Cap’s orders, shooting her in the neck with a dart at Granther’s house, and Andy also getting it in the back of the head. WE SKIP AHEAD TO A STORM AND A BLACKOUT FIVE MONTHS LATER-ISH. The novel is finally starting!
Pat: SO: blackout. Ominous storm is ominous.
Fucking… Andy… that dude is fat now. And a drug addict. Loves some thorazine. He’s lost his powers.
Andrea: Rainbird tells his stupid Vietnam eating spiders story. I have to say, if I was in government captivity I would be embracing the thorazine too.
Pat: Something about the storm! The lights going out! He kind of gets his power back? Then he kicks his addiction by pushing himself! He’d never thought of that before. OR OF PUSHING HIS DAUGHTER TO NOT START FIRES.
Andrea: That part made me LOL. *PUSH* “OH HEY I DON’T NEED THORAZINE ANYMORE.”
Pat: Well, it was in his sleep. That was kind of cool.
So that happens! He starts palming his pills, blah blah, plays Still Fucked Up.
Rainbird takes Charlie under his wing. Get it?
Andrea: I got it, I just didn’t want it. OH SNAP.
Pat: She thinks he’s an orderly, but he is an ugly man with an empty eye socket. And an eyepatch now. He is a pirate AND a Native American.
The two ARE NOT mutually exclusive.
Andrea: Oh, I keep forgetting about the empty eye socket.
Pat: Fine! She opens up to him, and he stops thinking of her as a safe he has to crack.
Andrea: That happened because some idiot in another squadron set a bomb off when they were high, right?
Charlie begins doing the tests, in exchange for stuff like going outside and petting ponies.
She pets the FUCK out of those ponies.
Andrea: Ponies smell bad FYI
Speaking of which: the clinical psychologist testing her is Dr. Patrick Hockstetter. That was also the name of the serial killer kid in IT.
Pat: I’m kind of surprised you also picked up on that.
Andrea: WHY??? Hockstetter haunts my dreams
Pat: You are shit at correlating names!
Andrea: I know, but that one stuck with me for some reason.
Pat: But Hockstetter dies in IT, when he’s like ten years old.
When King ends that chapter with Hockstetter realizing who was in charge, and King wrote, “She was,” I actually looked up from the book with a shit-eating grin.
Andrea: LOL! Because it was so dumb?
Pat: She thinks of Rainbird as her surrogate father, and he says he’s taking notes to her father, but he isn’t. He is a total dick!
Andrea: I KNOW I HATED HIM.
Pat: ANYWAY, Andy starts to push the doctor in charge of testing him. SETS UP AN ECHO BY MISTAKE involving a garbage disposal and the time he had to clean his frat house in women’s underwear, followed by him and his two frat brothers mutually masturbating (????)`. ALTHOUGH, TRUTH BE TOLD, I wasn’t sure if that meant just all wanking at the same time, or if they were all jerking each other off at the same time.
Ye Olde Dutch Rudder.
Andrea: I was confused about that too. I think it can go either way.
DO MEN REALLY DO THAT KIND OF STUFF??
Pat: No idea.
This causes Pynchot to go insane. He dies wearing his wife’s underwears. By putting his arm in a garbage disposal that’s running and looks like a butthole to him, which, okay?
Andrea: Ugh wut? How did I miss that part?
Pat: Yerp. “Sharpening his arm like a living pencil.”
Andrea: ARGH. I HATED THAT WHOLE SCENE.
Also, what is a West Point abortion? I wrote that in my notes for some reason
Pat: Losing the baby because you got shot to death, I think.
Pat: Then Andy goes to work on Cap, the guy in charge of the Shop! He gets to go to Pynchot’s funeral, convinces Cap to change Andy’s removal to Maui, tells him to come along and bring Charlie! And send Shitbird to Winnipeg or somewhere.
ANYHOW, Rainbird is a computer whiz or something. He finds out and nullifies his orders to go to Arizona or wherever.
Andrea: OMG, that part of him hacking the computer was LOLtastic.
Pat: Right, there was as computer that could, uh, calculate the probabilities of things in a way that is completely insane for the late 70s, and no one is buying it, Stevie.
Andrea: Yeah what is his deal?
Pat: SPOILER ALERT: Charlie is taken to meet her dad at the Pretty Pony Place.
Fucking Rainbird is there! He has some sort of obsession with killing her, or being killed by her, or them mutually killing each other?
Andrea: Yes. And she realizes that RB is bad but it is TOO LATE
Pat: Right! Did we mention that Cap passed Charlie a note from Andy? And it says that Rainbird is a Shitbird?
Andrea: Yeah, it’s like, he killed people before but it didn’t count because they didn’t have a child’s innocence or something.
Roadwork is next. Have you read it? It looks hella boring.
Pat: BITCH I AIN’T DONE SUMMARIZING
Andrea: I KNOW. I am just restless.
Pat: Cap and Andy show up at the barn. Daddy, don’t come in! Fucking Cap! He too has suffered an echo. That is twice in a row for Andy. He’s batting .000! In the loft of the stable lies Shitbird, with a gun, whatever.
CAP IS GOING BONKERS ABOUT GOLF AND SNAKES. We find out why, but we don’t care!
Andrea: I can’t reiterate enough how funny it was when he was beating the hose with the rake.
Pat: Not sure what happens to Cap after that, but he has HAD it with those MOTHERFUCKING snakes in that MOTHERFUCKING stable.
Andrea: Let’s just assume he died.
Pat: Blah blah blah, Charlie has to choose, Shitbird won’t let her use her power on him without shooting Andy, and vice versa.
Not sure why the hell Rainbird had this weird obsession at the end, though.
Andrea: Rainbird was a serial killer. He wanted to feel what it was like to watch Charlie die.
Pat: I thought he wanted her to kill him, finally?
Andrea: Really? That was not clear to me.
Pat: Who cares.
You might well guess that Shitbird shoots someone. He does! He shoots Andy.
AN ALARM HAS BEEN RAISED AND EVERYONE IN THE FACILITY IS ARMED LIKE WHOA.
Charlie, surprising no one, basically blows the entire back of the stable away, erasing Shitbird from this plane of existence. She lets the horses loose, too! The agents fucking shoot the horses. THE PRETTY PONIES. Charlie is PISSED. She basically explodes the Shop with her mind, kills however many people with fireballs and shit, then staves off her HUNGER FOR THE FIRE by boiling the duck pond.
Andrea: She is totally bummed about the ducks.
Pat: THE DUCKS ARE FUCKED. Fuck a duck!
We learn about a bunch of people’s deaths. We are nonplussed.
She escapes. Wheeeeee!
She ends up at the Manders’s.
Andrea: I love those dear, dear old fogies.
Pat: She is waaaaaaaaay hungry. Also, she walked from Virginia to upstate New York? Bitch please.
Andrea: That is one of the many ridic things in this book.
Pat: She is nursed back to health. Meanwhile, a doctor comes and takes care of her, doesn’t keep his mouth shut. It gets around town that there’s a mystery girl at the farm! THE SHOP FINDS OUT. This new bitch who runs the Shop sends EVERYONE. ALL OF THE PEOPLE.
They get there, but she’s gone! They find the Mandersseses holding a note saying that Charlie knows where to go, what to do.
(They had been discussing how to get the story out! The Shop scene tells us they have all major news outlets covered! But it’s the late 70s or something, SO:)
She goes to the library, and the kid there says, “Go here.” She goes there! Where is it? The offices of Rolling Stone! The book ends.
Was that so hard? You didn’t even have to DO anything.
Andrea: I know! Why am I so lethargic about this book?
Pat: Because you a bitch?